Onedrive and SharePoint are one of the most common online locations for storing and sharing data. Most times people are unsure of which is better to use. If you are in that category, then you should read through this guide as we would be discussing the differences between OneDrive and SharePoint.
What is Microsoft OneDrive?
OneDrive is an online cloud storage service from Microsoft. OneDrive integrates with Windows 11 as a default location for saving documents, giving Microsoft account users five gigabytes of free storage space before giving upgrade options.
OneDrive allows users to save files, photos, and other documents across multiple devices. User can also save their files in OneDrive and have it automatically sync on other devices. This means someone can access and work on the same document in multiple locations. OneDrive provides relatively easy access to cloud storage space, allowing options to share content with others.
How it works
OneDrive integrates with Microsoft Office so users can access Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents from OneDrive. It doesn’t require a download and should already be a part of Windows 11. A Microsoft account is required to use One Drive and users will need to sign in before using it. To sign in, users will need to go to onedrive.com and select “Sign in” which appears at the top of the page.
The system allows users to simultaneously edit Office documents, edit documents in browsers, and create and share folders. OneDrive also offers Facebook integration, automatic camera roll backup, and the ability for users to email slide shows. Users can also scan documents and store them in OneDrive.
Users can choose where to save data — on OneDrive or File Explorer. Those who want to use OneDrive as a data backup platform should have data saved in both locations. However, other users can choose to store their files in either or.
OneDrive also lets users share files stored in OneDrive with anyone. In OneDrive, the user will need to select the folder they want to share, go to the share button on the top toolbar, and select invite people. Users then can enter the email address of those they want to share the file with. If the recipient also has Office 365, then the user can select an option to allow the shared recipient to edit the page. There are also additional options for choosing access privileges in the drop-down menus.
From this step, users can click the shared button. Users can also generate links to share files by going to the same share option and choosing “Get a Link.” Additional options include allowing the recipient to edit or not. Users then create a link, select it, and can copy and paste it to whoever they may want to.
What is SharePoint?
SharePoint is a Microsoft web-based application that has existed since 2001 that allows organizations to store and organize any content and information. That includes documents, images, videos, news, links, lists of data, web pages, and tasks. Think of SharePoint as a one-stop shop for any content you have.
What does SharePoint offer?
Organizations use SharePoint to create websites. You can use it as a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from any device. All you need is a web browser, such as Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox.
Some of the features SharePoint offers include:
- External sharing of files and content with people both inside and outside your organization
- Content management features to help organize and manage content using libraries, lists, metadata, records management, and retention policies
- Team sites that provide a place for predetermined groups of users to view and collaborate on content, data, and news
- Communication sites to share and communicate messaging across organizations with customizable, dynamic sub-sites
- Mobile apps to allow users to access intranets, team sites, and content on Android, iOS, and Windows devices
- Automate business processes by creating alerts and workflows
- Search functions that help surface relevant people and important content
SharePoint vs OneDrive: What’s the Difference?
While OneDrive and SharePoint both provide an online space to access files, their broader use is what separates them. SharePoint is predominantly an online document management system and communication site. OneDrive is a cloud storage solution that people mainly use to create an online backup of their files.
You may be thinking, that you can create documents in both OneDrive and SharePoint. Yes, this is true. However, the intention of those documents is different.
SharePoint, for example, lets you create what is called a “SharePoint site,” and its features primarily target business users and teams. OneDrive, on the other hand, can serve as personal storage for your Uncle Steve who wants to back up his biking photos and poetry.
That’s not to dumb down what OneDrive is capable of (we’ll go into advanced use shortly), but it should give you a clearer idea of each product’s target audience and how their features cater to each of them.
Features and Collaborative Ability of SharePoint vs. OneDrive
SharePoint and OneDrive both offer collaboration solutions in the sense that both platforms can sync with any device to transfer data from one system to another.
However, there are differences in their collaborative abilities. OneDrive only grants editing rights to the creator of the uploaded content. Authorization to edit documents cannot be shared and this leads to less effective teamwork.
Along with this, hyperlinks do not work effectively on documents created on OneDrive. This is because the link becomes inactive once the document is copied and the original version is deleted.
Due to this, extra effort needs to be put into sharing the original document with all team members so that the hyperlink remains active.
OneDrive is also ill-equipped for collaborative work because if a team member leaves during a project and their account is closed down, OneDrive automatically removes their data in 30 days.
Since the owner of an account has sole authority over its contents when using OneDrive, retrieving a team member’s data is a complicated process. This makes working in large groups inflexible on OneDrive as it is difficult to add or remove team members.
However, OneDrive does allow comments and user remarks to be left in its documents by the creator, while SharePoint has no such option. OneDrive also permits files to be scanned via mobile devices, while SharePoint does not offer such a feature.
In comparison to this, SharePoint, which allows authorities to an entire team, makes for a more effective means of collaboration. Files can easily be stored, edited, and shared, and inserted hyperlinks remain active, even though the document is a copy.
SharePoint is a more efficient means of collaboration because entire offices can create online spaces to work remotely and keep track of projects via calendars, status updates, and incoming deadline notifications that can be utilized through SharePoint settings.
Features like dashboards, notifications, deadlines and trackers differentiate SharePoint from OneDrive as OneDrive is simply considered a tool to share files in private, while SharePoint is used as a team for enterprise project management.
SharePoint also offers a messaging tool called ‘Yammer’, which allows team members involved in a project to message each other while working on the platform.
SharePoint also offers a library featuring combined assets of the company, while OneDrive does not, instead OneDrive resembles a library of simple saved documents.
If you want our recommendations, then you should get SharePoint. Here’s why:
For its strong online storage features, its ease of allowing project collaboration, and its ability to deliver website building and intranet building, we would recommend SharePoint as the better option for the majority of business users.
We appreciate SharePoint’s ability to create and publish documents directly to your company website or to your company intranet, using the built-in content management system (CMS). This feature alone makes document sharing with clients and coworkers incredibly easy. You also have the option to add apps to your internal pages or to your website pages, which can be extremely handy.
Collaboration is where SharePoint truly shines, though. Setting up projects with to-do lists, shared documents, calendars, and many other features is a piece of cake in SharePoint.
Certainly, there are situations where OneDrive will fit the needs of your business better than SharePoint. But for those businesses that have more than the most basic needs from cloud storage, SharePoint’s extra features are going to yield the far more desirable option.
We like the interface SharePoint uses to deliver its features just a bit more than we like using OneDrive as well, but that doesn’t mean every business will feel the same way.
Even though we have recommended SharePoint, the best option for many businesses may be to use both OneDrive and SharePoint as part of Microsoft 365. With a subscription to Microsoft 365, you gain access to both services, allowing you to take advantage of the benefits of each one.
When to Get OneDrive Instead
If your employees often work individually rather than collaboratively, and if you want a simple cloud storage option for them, the fact that OneDrive has fewer features than SharePoint can be a significant advantage, as OneDrive has fewer processes to go through and far less clutter to navigate. In a situation like this, you may want to choose OneDrive in the SharePoint vs OneDrive comparison.
In its basic form, OneDrive is a cloud storage system for individual users. You can use OneDrive to create folders to organize your files and documents, just as you would with a local hard drive storage area. Because of this, some people choose to sync their local hard drive with the OneDrive account, recreating the file and folder organization they’re already using. This use case allows for creating automatic backups of your data offsite, which is a nice way to protect your files.
By placing files in OneDrive, you can make them available on any of your devices at any time (as long as they’re connected to the Internet), which can be advantageous for you versus only having your files on a local hard drive, meaning you would have to be sitting in front of the computer to access them. You also can give others access to your OneDrive files by sharing links to them, allowing for collaboration.
Additionally, OneDrive does have one lower-priced tier and one free tier, which SharePoint cannot match, so if you don’t need the extra features with SharePoint, saving money with OneDrive is a nice option. (The inexpensive tiers on OneDrive will be made for individuals, rather than for business users, but small businesses or sole proprietorships can certainly use these tiers.)
Although we would recommend OneDrive over SharePoint in a few circumstances, if you are already using SharePoint in your business and your employees are happy with it, there really is no reason to switch to OneDrive. The features found in OneDrive are similar enough to what you can also do in SharePoint that we can’t recommend making a switch unless you have a really compelling reason.
In conclusion, OneDrive and SharePoint have impressive features. Choosing between them would depend on your use. However, with this guide, you should it should be easier to pick the best for your needs.